President Isaac Herzog
President Isaac HerzogHaim Twitto

President Isaac Herzog on Sunday night criticized the antisemitic incidents at Columbia University.

“The atrocious antisemitic actions at Columbia University are deeply disturbing. To quote civil rights activist Professor Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel - who marched side by side with Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. - we need a ‘Leap of action’. Indeed, firm and strong action must be taken to prevent antisemitism on campus,” said Herzog.

“American academia must wake up to the threat, a clear and present danger to academic freedom and to the very lives of Jews on campus,” he added.

His comments come after the Chabad rabbi of Columbia University and a group of Jewish students were forced to leave the university campus for their own safety during a pro-Hamas demonstration overnight Saturday.

Video posted to social media showed a female student asking why the anti-Israel protesters are following them, and another student can be heard saying that they needed to stick together for safety.

During Saturday night's demonstration, protesters attempted to break through the campus gate, chanting "Break da lock," "Someone torch it," Pick the lock," and "It's just a lock."

On Thursday, more than 100 people were arrested by New York Police Department officers on a preliminary charge of criminal trespass, as police entered Columbia University to disperse a pro-Palestinian Arab protest that began a day earlier.

Columbia University has seen an uptick in antisemitic incidents since Hamas’ October 7 attack on Israel and the war in Gaza which followed.

In February, antisemitic flyers showing a skunk emblazoned with the Israeli flag were posted on the campus of Columbia University.

A week before that, Israeli firearms model Orin Julie and fashion model Natali Dadon were accosted at the University of Columbia by one of the central figures of the anti-Israel protests on campus.

Amid the antisemitism on campus, Columbia University's administration shut down a December discussion by the pro-Palestinian Arab student group "Columbia Social Workers 4 Palestine" after it was discovered that the discussion aimed to justify Hamas' October 7 massacre of Israeli civilians.